There is probably no anime character that is as underrated as the anime miko character. Miko have the sole job of maintaining a shrine and act as the caretaker for many shrines in anime. Do you remember seeing a miko in an anime? Maybe? No?
No worries, we have you covered. We don’t want the miko character to be ignored anymore because frankly, they are just wonderful. They have grace, beauty, and a great history behind shrine maidens. Why let them go unloved any longer? We have for you today our Top 10 Anime Miko Characters!
Beware, there will be spoilers!
10. Himemiya Chikane from Kannazuki no Miko (Destiny of the Shrine Maiden)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 2004 - December 2014
In Mahoroba village, where time seems to crawl, two girls have fallen in love, passionate about being together at all costs. These girls are very different, but that doesn’t stop them. Himeko can be timid and hesitant. Chikane is a girl with courage and grace. One day, as the girls celebrate their shared birthday, a friend is corrupted into attacking the girls, waking the priestess' powers within Chikane and Himeko. Now, they fight evil to save themselves.
Chikane is a complete kuudere miko who is passionate when it comes to love. While Himeko may be more hesitant, Chikane is always willing to take action, especially in the name of love. While Chikane may seem cold and heartless, she has a heart of gold and will protect the ones she cares about at all costs, even if she herself is unhappy in the end. Chikane is a self-sacrificing yet passionate anime miko character that shan’t be forgotten!
9. Hiiragi Kagami & Tsubasa from Lucky Star
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2007 - September 2007
Lucky Star is an anime all about the lives of Konata, Kagami, Tsubasa and Miyuki, who are all school friends and high school girls. Together, they’ll do homework, attend classes, go to Comiket, and sit around the kotatsu for some laughs and good times. This is not a story about action and adventure; it is the ultimate slice of life anime for all!
When you think of Lucky Star, you do not think about anime miko characters but in fact, there are two! Kagami and Tsubasa are twin sisters who are miko at their family shrine. The two can be seen in their miko clothes for important events at the shrine, to which Konata will always say something. Kagami and Tsubasa are great because although they are miko, they don’t fall into what most people think miko are. Tsubasa is an airhead who loses herself doing absolutely nothing while Kagami is tsundere-esque and enjoys playing video games. Do either of those sound like your typical miko?
8. Amanogawa Haruka from Amaenaide yo!! (Ah My Buddha)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2005 - September 2005
Satonaka Ikkou, at the ripe age of 16, was sent to Saienji Buddhist Temple by his parents with the sole intention of having Ikkou be trained by his grandmother who also happens to be the Saienji Priestess. However, the temple seems to be a haven for voluptuous priestesses-in-training! At the same time, Ikkou discovers that his monk powers become strong when he sees a naked girl. Now, Ikkou is the perfect candidate for performing amazing exorcisms.
Now we have our dear Amanogawa Haruka, the big breasted ditz of the Amaenaide yo!! bunch, but is she really? Haruka likes to incite trouble and is not quite as she appears. When Haruka flirts with our main character Ikkou, it is usually to get one of the girls angry at him and well, watch the rest unfold. Haruka may seem like a ditz, but she’s no dummy.
7. Iyo from Big Order
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: April 2016 - June 2016
As a child, Hoshimiya Eiji made a wish to a fairy which resulted in the Great Destruction. Many people died and the world was thrown into chaos. It has been ten years since then and Eiji does not remember what he wished for but he has an “order” which began manifesting in people since the Great Destruction. However, many people are after Eiji’s life since the Great Destruction. Will he be able to survive?
Now an anime from the Spring anime season 2016, Big Order revealed to us one of our favorite anime miko characters: Iyo! Iyo is a miko with great power, but her father gave her one warning: do not ever touch a boy or else your powers will vanish! Well, regardless of what happens, Iyo does not hesitate to touch our main character, Eiji, to protect him for his own good, whether he likes it or not. This shy miko who knows nothing about men is going to through you for a loop. Never underestimate an anime miko character!
6. Kisaragi Saya from Blood-C
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2011 - September 2011
Kisaragi Saya lives a double life as a high school student and a monster slayer. All seems to be going smoothly as Saya protects humans from monsters, but things are about to change. Saya heard that there is a broken covenant. Now, Saya is going to see that things are not as they appear, but first, she has to figure out who she is!
Saya lives quite the busy life as a high school student, miko, and monster slayer. She has her hands full! When she’s not studying or cleaning the shrine, Saya makes sure to keep the peace between humans and monsters. Despite all the excessive bloodshed and gruesome fights, Saya remains unphased by her work. It is quite a lot to deal with for a high school girl, though! Regardless, Saya does her role as an anime miko character quite well and who can deny that she belongs on our list?
5. Furude Rika from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When They Cry)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 2006 - September 2006
Maebara Keiichi is the newest resident of Hinamizawa Village, where life seems to be simple and fun. He has made new friends and everything seems great. Until one day, Keiichi hears there have been murders and people are disappearing, all of which are associated with the annual festival. Now, Keiichi is suspicious of all, including his new friends who seem to be hiding something from him.
Ah, Rika is our darling number 6th anime miko character! She seems like an adorable young girl, but much like the others in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Rika doesn’t stay adorable for too long. Rika is the “Queen Carrier,” so without her, the residents in Hinamizawa Village will lose their minds. Not only does her death spark the villager’s insanity but she herself has gone insane in a few arcs in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Let’s just say, if you are squeamish, don’t be stupid enough to watch. Anyway, because of Rika’s importance in Hinamizawa Village as well as the part she plays in the anime, is it no surprise that Rika is on our list of top 10 anime miko characters?
4. Urushibara Ruka from Steins;Gate
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2011 - September 2011
Okabe Rintarou calls himself a mad scientist as he spends his time in his “lab” in Akihabara inventing odd gadgets with friends and lab mates Shiina Mayuri and Itaru Hashida. One day, the three of them create a gadget that morphs bananas into some odd slime. Using this new invention dubbed the “Phone Microwave,” the three of them set off on a journey through time.
If you don’t like Ruka, get out! Ruka is the beautiful and graceful anime miko who will steal your heart. Or break it once you realize that Ruka is most definitely a boy. Or is he? Either way, Ruka knows what he wants and knows just how to go for it: whether he wants to be born a girl or go out on a date with Rintarou. Despite being somewhat ruthless in pursuing his wishes, Ruka is a very gentle soul and a great friend to Rintarou. All of his great traits combine to make Ruka one awesome anime miko character! Who says you have to be female to be a miko character? (Well…)
3. Amayadori Machi from Kuma Miko
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2016 - June 2016
Machi is a shrine maiden who has spent her life living in a rural village in the mountains. Machi is in charge of taking care of the shrine alongside her bear guardian, Natsu. However, things are going to change now that Machi is getting older. Machi wants to go to the big city and go to school! Can this country girl actually go to the big city? Is Machi ready for life in the big city?
Number 3 on our list is an anime miko character from this spring 2016 anime season. Machi is an adorable young miko who’s guardian happens to be a bear. Machi dreams big of going to the city for a chance to be a city girl, but with all of her social anxiety and inferiority complex as well as self-consciousness, Machi can barely make it out in a shopping complex. Poor Machi. Still, she tries and usually ends up forcing herself into very freaky situations, but at least Machi gives them a chance! Machi may not always succeed at what she wants or see what is truly happening, but let’s give her an A (E?) for effort! Plus, who could deny her when Machi dons her miko clothes? She’s adorable! Worthy of being the village mascot!
2. Kikyo from InuYasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: October 2000 - September 2004
Higurashi Kagome finds that her life takes a huge turn one day when she is dragged into a cursed well by a demon. Kagome finds herself in the Sengoku period over 500 years in the past, where she is being pursued by demons because she contains the Shikon Jewel that is said to grant wishes. The jewel breaks but Kagome teams up with a demi-human, Inuyasha to find the pieces of the sacred jewel to keep it out of the hands of evil-doers. Now, Kagome is opting to stay in the past to save the world from demons who will use the jewel for nefarious purposes.
How many of us can forget our beloved Kikyo? Kikyo is the vengeful miko character who is always after Inuyasha’s skin. Kikyo is an amazing miko character because of her skill. She is a master archer, but let’s not forget her skills as a miko! Kikyo was entrusted with the duty of killing demons and protecting the Shikon Jewel for a reason. Of course, Kikyo is also quite tenacious as she never deters from her goals, even if that means attempting to kill Inuyasha. Kikyo is a woman of many merits that you just don’t find in most anime and on top of it all, she’s a miko!
1. Hino Rei from Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal (Sailor Moon)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: July 2014 - July 2015
Tsukino Usagi is a crybaby and extremely clumsy. She isn’t good at anything nor does she do well in school. One day, Usagi’s life changes when she comes across Luna, a purple cat who can speak and has a crescent moon on her forehead. Luna grants Usagi a brooch that gives Usagi magical powers so she can transform into Sailor Moon and protect the world from the forces of evil. Luna gives Usagi the important task of finding the Silver Crystal, the other Sailor Guardians, and the princess of the Moon Kingdom. Is Usagi up for the job? Well, does she have a choice?
How can anyone deny that Hino Rei deserves number 1 on our list of top 10 anime miko characters? Not only is she a skilled miko at her shrine, Rei has shown just how skilled she can be in combat. Hell, Rei is always trying to knock sense into Usagi when others don’t. We can’t all be so sympathetic, you know. Rei is the friend that Usagi needs. And as a skilled Sailor Guardian, Rei will not let you down!
Miko characters come in all shapes and sizes, but that doesn’t change how awesome anime miko are! They give us a little peek at shrine maidens who do actually exist in Japanese culture as well as provide a great character type that we just can’t get enough of. Anime miko characters just don’t seem to get enough love, but let’s not let that continue! Do you have any favorite anime miko characters that you want to share? Let’s hear them!